My Favorite Half-Night Stand

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

my favorite half-night stand book by christina lauren
Picture taken by me. Buy on Amazon.

For fans of: Romantic comedies, friends to lovers trope, roosters (inside book joke)

Author: Christina Lauren

Published: December 4, 2018

ISBN: 1501197401

Pages: 384

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review, and all opinions are my own. If you are interested in purchasing this book, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link (by clicking on the top or bottom pictures) and helping a fellow book blogger out 🙂

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Millie and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship…but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

My Review:

This was another laugh-out-loud book from Christina Lauren. I really enjoyed the romance between Millie and Reid, mostly because I am a big fan of the friends to lovers trope. I liked how the authors explored the new online dating trends and explained the different websites available. It was interesting how they included group chat conversations, texts, and emails between Millie and her friends, which helped to show how friendships have evolved along with modern technology.

I liked that Millie was a strong woman leading a successful career in a field she had been passionate about her whole life. The authors delved into the nuances of finding the right man for a woman who knows exactly what she wants, but might not be ready to open herself up completely. I would have liked a bit more emphasis on the hardships of being a successful woman in a man’s world. Also, there is always that part in a Christina Lauren book when I start screaming at the characters to “just talk to each other already!”

As always, there was a very important emphasis on friendship and family, and being there for those who love us and need us. I enjoyed the relationship between Reid and his family, and I really liked his mom (her cooking sounded delicious). Seeing their close family bond pushed Millie to try to mend her own relationship with her sister and father. I highly recommend this one to all Romance fans for a light hilarious read.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the ballad of songbirds and snakes by suzanne collins

Author: Suzanne Collins

Series: Hunger Games, #0

Published: May 19, 2020

Pages: 540

Synopsis from Goodreads:

It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the 10th annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to out charm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.

The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined – every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute… and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.

My Review:

Snow lands on top”

❄️

I am a big Hunger Games fan, so when they announced that this book was being released I decided I would read it no matter what, even if it was about President Snow. I honestly don’t know where to even start with this one, so I am doing something a bit different and separating my review into likes and dislikes.

Dislikes:

We all know Coriolanus Snow turns out to be an evil bastard, but what I wanted to know was how? What was the turning point in his life? What made him into HIM? Unfortunately, for approximately ninety percent of the book all I got was a story about a regular, albeit ambitious guy who had to make hard choices when he was put into tough situations. Then, in the last ten percent of the book I was not even remotely prepared for the changes in his character, and I had whiplash by the time I was done. I feel like these changes should have been more gradual.

I also cannot go into detail when it comes to Coriolanus’s relationship with Lucy Gray without giving away any spoilers, but I did not like the way it was handled at all. Just like his character arch, their relationship would have benefitted from a more gradual development, and then a steady decline. This is not what I got. Instead, at the end of their story I felt like I had been slapped with this random unsatisfying ending and left with a LOT of unanswered questions.

Likes:

Okay, now that I got all that off my chest. I did enjoy the non-stop action in this book, and it was very emotional being back in the Hunger Games and experiencing the very beginning when the games were not as elaborate and immersive as they later became. I really liked finding the little Easter eggs along the way, which were in the form of familiar characters, animals, items, and songs from the original Hunger Games. It was nice finding out how certain aspects of the later Hunger Games came to be.

I liked that the mentors had their own side game going on as well, and that they were being put through almost as much as the tributes were. My favorite character, and in my opinion the only one with any redeeming qualities, was Tigris. I admired her resourcefulness and loyalty to her family, especially to Coriolanus. I enjoyed learning about many of the behind the scenes workings of the Hunger Games, from the way tests were performed on people and animals at the lab, to how the Peace Keepers were trained.

My whole initial rant aside, if you are a Hunger Games fan you won’t want to skip this one. Like I told someone on Instagram recently, just keep telling yourself “He’s the villain, he’s the villain,” and you shouldn’t have as much of a shock as I did. I highly recommend this book to all Fantasy/YA fans, and Hunger Games fanatics should definitely read it.

If you are interested in purchasing this book, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link (by clicking on the top or bottom pictures) and helping a fellow book blogger out 🙂

Night of the Dragon

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Night of the dragon by julie kagawa
Picture from Goodreads

Author: Julie Kagawa

Series: Shadow of the Fox, #3

Published: March 31, 2020

Pages: 384

Synopsis from Goodreads: (**do not read synopsis unless you have read the rest of the series**)

Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has given up the final piece of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers in order to save everyone she loves from imminent death. Now she and her ragtag band of companions must journey to the wild sea cliffs of Iwagoto in a desperate last-chance effort to stop the Master of Demons from calling upon the Great Kami dragon and making the wish that will plunge the empire into destruction and darkness.

Shadow clan assassin Kage Tatsumi has regained control of his body and agreed to a true deal with the devil—the demon inside him, Hakaimono. They will share his body and work with Yumeko and their companions to stop a madman and separate Hakaimono from Tatsumi and the cursed sword that had trapped the demon for nearly a millennium.

But even with their combined skills and powers, this most unlikely team of heroes knows the forces of evil may be impossible to overcome. And there is another player in the battle for the scroll, a player who has been watching, waiting for the right moment to pull strings that no one even realized existed…until now.

My Mini Review:

Life is not fair, Yumeko-chan, he murmured. Life is balance. Before spring, there must be winter. Before the sun, there must be darkness. What is, is what must be.”

This series definitely does not get all the hype it deserves. The character development, the humor, and the plot are all amazing. We are thrown into the action as soon as the story begins. There are a few respites in the middle, for romantic purposes and more character building, but then we are thrown right back into the action. I couldn’t help thinking the whole time what a great anime show this story would make, and I would find myself imagining some of the scenes animated.

I loved ALL the characters, but my favorite was Yumeko. She was such a strong female character, and she came such a long way by the end of the story. I was definitely not expecting all the twists and turns Kagawa threw at me. Our group of heroes was in mortal peril so many times that I felt like I had whiplash. There was a scene that actually brought tears to my eyes, and that almost NEVER happens. This was a great conclusion to an amazing series, and I highly recommend it to all Fantasy/ YA fans.

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. However, if you click on my link and end up buying the book Amazon will pay me a small fee. Thank you for supporting a small blog like mine 🙂

The Poppy War

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the poppy war by r.f. kuang

Author: R.F. Kuang

Series: The Poppy War, #1

Published: May 1, 2018

Pages: 644

Synopsis from Goodreads:

When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.

My Mini Review:

War doesn’t determine who’s right. War determines who remains.”

I decided to read this book after reading some of the raving reviews. I didn’t even read the synopsis and just dove right in. I was definitely not expecting such a monumental book, not only is it 644 pages, but the story develops across many years of Rin’s life. When we begin the story Rin is fourteen years old, and by the end she is nineteen. The character development was amazing to say the least. One of my favorite side characters was Kitay, who becomes one of Rin’s best friends. I adored the way he just had to say what was on his mind at all times, and I appreciated his honesty.

Children ceased to be children when you put a sword in their hands.”

I think I should warn you all, since no one ever warned me, that this book is very graphic. It contains explicit descriptions of rape, killing, and it does not discriminate between women or children. I listened to the audio book, and at times I had to stop because it made me very uncomfortable. I do believe the author’s point in doing this was to enrage the reader, just like these heinous acts enraged Rin into taking action. But as a reader, I only ended up feeling powerless and frustrated. I do recommend this book if you can stomach graphic violence, and I believe Kuang has created an amazing work of art depicting the realities of war and the effect it can have on a nation and its people.

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. However, if you click on my link and end up buying the book Amazon will pay me a small fee. Thank you for supporting a small blog like mine 🙂

The Starless Sea

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the starless sea by erin morgenstern
Picture from Goodreads

Author: Erin Morgenstern

Published: November 5th, 2019

Pages: 498

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Far beneath the surface of the earth, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories. The entryways that lead to this sanctuary are often hidden, sometimes on forest floors, sometimes in private homes, sometimes in plain sight. But those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them.

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is searching for his door, though he does not know it. He follows a silent siren song, an inexplicable knowledge that he is meant for another place. When he discovers a mysterious book in the stacks of his campus library he begins to read, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities, and nameless acolytes. Suddenly a turn of the page brings Zachary to a story from his own childhood impossibly written in this book that is older than he is.

A bee, a key, and a sword emblazoned on the book lead Zachary to two people who will change the course of his life: Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired painter, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances. These strangers guide Zachary through masquerade party dances and whispered back room stories to the headquarters of a secret society where doorknobs hang from ribbons, and finally through a door conjured from paint to the place he has always yearned for. Amid twisting tunnels filled with books, gilded ballrooms, and wine-dark shores Zachary falls into an intoxicating world soaked in romance and mystery. But a battle is raging over the fate of this place and though there are those who would willingly sacrifice everything to protect it, there are just as many intent on its destruction. As Zachary, Mirabel, and Dorian venture deeper into the space and its histories and myths, searching for answers and each other, a timeless love story unspools, casting a spell of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a Starless Sea.

My Review:

We are all stardust and stories.”

I admit I’ve never read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern before, and after reading The Starless Sea I might have to. I did hear through the reviewer grape vine that The Starless sea was a good book to listen to as an audio, so I purchased it. I did enjoy the audio, but I think I will purchase the real book for a re-read. One of the main narrators for the audio book had a bit of a monotone voice which made the narrative seem boring and slow at times.

Be brave…Be bold. Be loud. Never change for anyone but yourself. Any soul worth their star-stuff will take the whole package as is and however it grows. Don’t waste your time on anyone who doesn’t believe you when you tell them how you feel.”

I really loved Zachary Ezra Rawlins, the main character. He was so introspective and sweet. I liked that he battled his depression by diving into books. One of my favorite side characters was Eleanor, and I enjoyed her and Simon’s romantic side story. I also really liked Zachary’s friend Kat who refused to give up on him until the end.

The descriptions of the scenery as the story progressed from one scene to another were amazing. The dresses, the dancing, and the music were described in great detail. Then we would be transported to book mazes, ships, and snow covered Inns. I could almost feel the wind and the freezing snow on my face as I read.

Strange, isn’t it? To love a book. When the words on the pages become so precious that they feel like part of your own history because they are.”

This was a book within a book and stories within a story, I’ve never read anything like it. The writing was poetic and entrancing. I was transported to this fairy tale like world containing mysterious books and secret libraries, and honestly I did not want to leave. This story was a book lover’s dream come true, and it’s hard to describe how it was lovely and confusing at the same time. After I was done my mind was spinning in circles, but I will be glad to do a re-read soon. I’m sure even after a few re-reads I will still be a bit confused, but happy. I highly recommend this one to all book worms out there looking to get lost for a while in The Starless Sea.

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. However, if you click on my link and end up buying the book Amazon will pay me a small fee. Thank you for supporting a small blog like mine 🙂

The Queen of Nothing

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the queen of nothing by holly black
Buy it on Amazon

Author: Holly Black

Series: The Folk of the Air, #3

Published: November 19, 2019

ISBN: 0316310409

**If you would like to purchase this book please consider helping me as a blogger by using my link above or at the bottom of the post, at no additional cost to you**

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.

Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.

And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity

My Mini Review:

“That’s what mortal means…Think of us like shooting stars, brief but bright.” ~Jude

What a satisfying ending to a magical series. Holly Black has woven a tale full of intrigue, court scheming, and assassins, with just the right amount of romance sprinkled in. I found myself constantly torn between wanting to savor every page, and wanting to know what happened next. In the end the latter won, and I finished the book in two days.

“Maybe it isn’t the worst thing to want to be loved, even if you’re not. Even if it hurts. Maybe being human isn’t always being weak.” ~Jude

This story was really about Jude, a girl who became one of my all time favorite female characters. In the beginning of this series, Jude was just a girl who wished to be a knight, but we saw her evolve into something much greater than that. Through her we learned what it means to be human in a world full of immortals. Jude constantly toed the line between doing what’s right and doing what’s necessary, and she was able to remain level-headed and strong throughout. I greatly admired her ambition, and her willingness to give up everything to attain her dreams.

“How do people like us take off our armor? One piece at a time.” ~Jude

Cardan was the Cruel Prince, and then he was the Wicked King, but through his story Black taught us that family sometimes means more than sharing the same blood. He taught us that being a leader is sometimes more than wearing a crown on your head.

Some of my favorite side characters included Madoc, Jude’s father who passed on his ambition, and Oak, Jude’s little brother who never wished to become king. As always, I really enjoyed the small graphics and drawings throughout the book, as well as the covers for the whole trilogy. I recommend this series to all Fantasy fans, and fans of this trilogy need to read it NOW.

Let me know in the comments what you thought about The Queen of Nothing!

Lifelike

Lifelike by Jay Kristoff
Lifelike by Jay Kristoff

Author: Jay Kristoff

Published: May 29, 2018

Publisher: Knopf Books by Young Readers

ISBN: 1524713929

**If you want to buy this book, please consider clicking on my link above or all the way at the bottom of the post to support a fellow blogger at no additional cost to you**

Synopsis from Goodreads:

On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.

My Review:

I really enjoyed the bonds between the characters in this book. The relationship and playful banter between Eve and Cricket reminded me a lot of that between Cinder and Iko in The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I also loved Lemon, and liked the bestie dynamic between her and Eve, always sticking by each other. I like how Kristoff always makes up his own language and slang words in his stories, and I find myself almost letting these words slip in real life, but I fear the weird concerned looks I would get from those not familiar with Kristoff’s work.

As always Mr. Kristoff made me ponder all sorts of ethical and moral dilemmas throughout this book. Should man-made AI’s be treated with the same rights as humans? What if they can feel and have all the emotions humans do? Is having machines do most of our manual labor considered slavery? I still don’t know where I stand on ALL of these, and I need a lot more time to digest all of it.

The ending of this book left me in shock, so I’m glad the next book “Deviate” has already been released. I could have used a bit more world building. I would’ve liked more detail on how this future post apocalyptic world looks on a grander scale. I highly recommend this series to all YA/ Fantasy fans and fans of Jay Kristoff. I will certainly be moving on to the next book soon and will let you guys know how it goes!

TBR Organization…Again!

TBR Organization To be read
My Instagram

Once again I had to re-organize my TBR List on Goodreads. I felt like the list was out of control and it was putting me into a reading slump. Now that I’ve organized it, I’ve been getting a lot more reading done. As you can probably tell I’m a bit OCD when it comes to organization, I hate clutter and everything has to have a place. Here are the categories I put my books into.

ARC- To Read

This category is for any ARC (Advance reader copy) that I need to read. I haven’t been doing a lot of those lately, but when I do I try to get them done as soon as possible so that it can be ready when the book gets released.

Next- Read

goodreads next reads

This category is reserved for any books that have been checked out of the Library and I need to read before my 14 days are over. I put them there to remind me to read those next instead of picking up something new from my TBR and then having these Library loans expire. I also put any books here that I’ve started reading but had to put aside before for one reason or another. Lastly, I put any books here that are about to release within the next few weeks and I already pre-ordered, or any ARC’s that are also about to release and I need to review before they do.

Own

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Is where I list all the books I own so that I don’t make the mistake of buying them again.

Old books to read

goodreads old books to read

By “old” I mean released before 2019. As a reviewer I feel like I must read books that have been recently released in order to stay relevant, but I also want to read older books that have been recommended to me. This is where I put those.

Owned e-books TBR

owned ebooks to be read goodreads

These are e-books that I own, but still need to read. I usually pick the kindle free book of the month and put it here. Also, any e-books I buy on sale for less than a dollar. I don’t tend to spend too much on e-books unless it’s an anticipated read by an author I love.

Series to Catch-Up On

This is where I shelve new series that have recently released new books and I haven’t read yet. I try to read at least one from this list every month to catch up.

Re-Read

re read on goodreads

I like to put books here which belong to a series and the next book in the series is about to release. Sometimes I need a good re-read to refresh my mind on the details of the story so I can thoroughly enjoy a new release.

To Be Released

It’s almost the end of the year so I barely have any books in this list. This is where I put all my anticipated releases for this year.

2020 Releases

2020 releases on goodreads

Another one that’s self-explanatory. I also think it will be handy to change the name of the list to “To be released” once 2020 starts, and I’ll delete the old one.

To Buy

Last but not least is the list of books I’ve loved so much that I must buy. I also put here any books my favorite authors are releasing in the near future, because honestly if I love an author I will buy anything they write. This list definitely comes in handy when I walk into Barnes and Noble, or when there is a sale at an online Book Store, it helps to keep my mind focused on the books that I actually need and want to buy. This helps me not spend my money on random books.

Hope you enjoyed this post and maybe got some ideas to organize your own TBR and become more productive. If you want to be my friend on Goodreads, please add me!

The Unhoneymooners

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the unhoneymooners by Christina lauren

Author: Christina Lauren

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: May 14, 2019

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.

My Review:

This book was just as hilarious as everyone made it out to be. I’m glad I listened to the hype and finally read it. There were many funny moments as well as real cringy ones. When a book gets a physical reaction from me, like a cringe, then I think it has done its job. Also, I really enjoyed all the Harry Potter references.

I loved Olive’s crazy Hispanic family, but I’m still undecided on whether I want a family like hers. On the one hand, I loved how supportive they were, but on the other I would hate it if my family showed up at my house unannounced at all hours of the day. I did enjoy reading all their texts and back and forth banter. I liked how this book integrated texting into the narrative, since it has become such an integral part of how we interact with each other.

Olive was a strong female character, and I liked seeing her work through different ethical and moral dilemmas and witness the repercussions of her decisions. I also enjoyed Ethan’s personality and how he was able to deal with Olive’s inability to lie, or her propensity to talk to much when she was put on the spot. Their romance was slow building and realistic, even though in theory the author could’ve gotten away with some “insta-love” since they actually had known each other for a very long time.

The only negative for me was the ending was a bit dragged out, and I felt that many parts of it were unnecessary. But overall, I would recommend this book to all Romance readers. The sex scenes were not too explicit, and it was a very funny light-hearted read.

Ash Princess

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Author: Laura Sebastian

Published: April 24, 2018

Series: Ash Princess Trilogy, #1

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

ISBN: 1524767069

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess–a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.

Captive animals grow to love their captors all the time, even when they beat them. It’s not surprising that you love one of yours.”

Ash Princess

My review:

Sebastian’s writing is succinct and poetic in nature. I enjoyed how fast paced the story was, and how it dropped you in the middle of the action, not stopping until the bitter cliffhanger ending. Theo was such a strong main character. The whole time she had me questioning whether I would’ve made the same decisions she did if I was in her place, and whether I could ever be strong enough to withstand the things she did. There were a lot of ethical and moral dilemmas presented in this book, and as similar as I found this story to Throne of Glass, I felt like it went a lot deeper into issues of morality and duty than the first Throne of Glass book ever did.

As traitorous as it makes me, I can imagine it. A life where a crown—gold or ash—doesn’t weigh heavy on my head. A life where I’m not responsible for thousands of people who are hungry and weak and beaten every day. A life where I can just be a girl, kissing a boy because she wants to”

Ash Princess

At some point I feared this was going to turn into a Religion heavy story. It’s okay when stories include Gods and Goddesses and different made up religions and religious entities, but I don’t enjoy it when religion takes the main stage. I found it a bit boring and frustrating that many of these characters, including Theo, had powers but they did not use them for fear of not being allowed into the “After” and rejoin their friends and families. In my opinion, Fantasy books which include magic should have people that can USE their powers. I’m hoping this changes in the future books. There was also some “insta-love” which is always annoying.

Why would the gods allow us to suffer like we have for the last decade? Why wouldn’t they have struck the Kalovaxians down as soon as they set foot on Astrean soil? Why didn’t they protect us?”

Ash Princess

Now, I know it seems like I have a lot more dislikes than I do likes, so how can I give this book four stars? The negative aspects were mildly inconvenient, but they did not make the whole story for me. Also, this has been one of the only Fantasy books that has made me tear up since the ending of Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas. I really liked Theo, and I connected with her and her struggle. I’ve now moved on to the second book in this series, Lady Smoke, and I’m enjoying that as well. I have been trying to catch up with this series for a while, and I’m glad I’m finally reading it. I recommend this series to all Fantasy fans.